Diamondback Heist 2.0 27.5 review£725.00

A proper trail bomber with excellent spec, though a little harsh on rougher trails

BikeRadar score4.5/5

With development funds limited, it’s perhaps inevitable most lower priced mountain bikes are relatively generic, slightly dated cross country designs that fight for attention via componentry, not ride character. That means Diamondback’s Heist really stands out in the shop and — more importantly — on the trail.

The big rectangular frame tubes are definitely a clue to its tough, trail persona. Even if you don’t notice the forks sit at the same relaxed angle as the DBR Myers All Mountain Hardtail, you’ll certainly feel the confidence boosting, self centring effect on the steering. It’d feel even better if you bin the 80mm stem for something shorter and fit slimmer, clamp secured grips, but the 740mm Race Face handlebar adds authority and big brand kudos.

RockShox Recon fork
RockShox Recon fork

The RockShox Recon fork is a much better quality unit than you’ll normally find at this price, complete with an easily adjustable air spring, consistently controlled damping, and even a handlebar lever to lock them out on climbs.

While you don’t get a thru-axle like you might on a Suntour fork, the big bar and quality fork structure means you’ve still got plenty of precision to exploit the grip of the Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5x2.25in tyres.

The 740mm Race Face handlebar
The 740mm Race Face handlebar

While they’re basic by Shimano standards, the M396 brakes are much better controlled than most in this price category. The SLX and XT gearing is something you’d only normally find on more expensive bikes.

If you think this year’s bike is a belter, you should see how the Heist looks for 2017. Unfortunately, we were a little too early to get a sample, but our insider mentions 1x11 Shimano XT, stealth dropper, and “extra bits” for a few quid more.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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